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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
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Tivoli Gardens house, home of the operator of the popular beer garden. Photo courtesy: William K. Hammel

TIVOLI GARDENS. Located along Central from Kaufmann Avenue to West 23rd and west to Francis Street, the nine-acre tract of forested land was one of Dubuque's BEER GARDENS. (1) The gardens were located in a grove of oak trees which formed part of the grounds around the "frame mansion" built by Lucuis Hart LANGWORTHY in the early 1830s. The original grounds extended all along the west wide of Central Avenue north to the much later constructed bus barns. Westerly the grounds extended back beyond Frances Street to where North Main Street later intersected Kaufmann Avenue. (2) It was a popular summer leisure stop for picnics or a rest after work. (3)

John Schaffner came to Dubuque in the latter part of the 1840s and is believed to have been the first operator of the Tivoli Gardens and the builder of the Tivoli Garden House around 1851. It remained under the ownership of Schaffner until 1860 when a Richard Cox became the owner. (4)

In 1860 Tivoli Gardens was the scene of the AGRICULTURAL FAIR, the first large fair held in Dubuque County. The opening day on September 19, 1860 raised six hundred dollars from admission tickets. (4) Transportation from the JULIEN HOUSE was supplied by an omnibus for ten cents. With over five hundred exhibits of manufactured clothing, fruits, vegetables, paintings, cigars, and farm animals, the three day event had something for everyone.

In 1863 Joseph Zugenbuehler became the owner of the property, and operated the gardens until 1876 when John Krayer became the owner and they were renamed the Centennial Gardens. (5) He was the owner when the beer gardens were discontinued. (6) In 1877 lots in the former gardens were selling for $1,100. (7)



1. Sommer, Lawrence J. The Heritage of Dubuque: An Architectural View. Tel Graphics, East Dubuque, Illinois, 1975, p. 23

2. "An Old Dubuque Landmark," Telegraph-Herald and Times-Journal, May 27, 1934, p. 9

3. Kruse, Len. "Having Fun," My Old Dubuque, Dubuque, Iowa: Center for Dubuque History, 2000, p. 310

4. "An Old Dubuque Landmark..."

5. Jacobsen, Jacob. DUBUQUE—THE KEY CITY: The Architectural And Historical Resources of Dubuque, Iowa, 1837-1955 Phase I Historical and Architectural Survey Report, January 15, 2002, p. 4

6. Ibid.

7. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, August 26, 1877, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18770826&printsec=frontpage&hl=en